Incidental findings on cone-beam computed tomographic images: paranasal sinus findings and nasal septum variations

Oral Radiol. 2018 Jan;34(1):40-48. doi: 10.1007/s11282-017-0283-y. Epub 2017 Mar 27.


Objective: CBCT applications have received widespread acceptance in dentistry. CBCT scans provide three-dimensional information on anatomic structures and characteristics of pathologies, rather than the two-dimensional information obtained with the conventional techniques. The purpose of this study was to evaluate incidental findings in out-of-interest areas on CBCT images and to reveal their frequency and characteristics.

Methods: A total of 691 CBCT scans from 691 patients were assessed. Demographic data, CBCT indications, and incidental findings outside the primary area of interest, such as anatomical variations and pathologies, were noted. The incidental findings were categorized and analyzed using descriptive statistics.

Results: In total, 1109 incidental findings in paranasal sinuses were noted on 548 of the 691 CBCT scans. The highest rate of incidental findings was maxillary sinus findings, followed by concha bullosa and septum deviation. The most frequently observed pathology was mucosal thickening, followed by polypoid mucosal thickening in the maxillary sinus.

Conclusions: While most incidental findings require no treatment, some conditions will necessitate modification of the treatment plan. Therefore, dental practitioners should be aware of incidental findings and anatomical variations. Correct identification of these findings will reduce unnecessary further diagnostic assessments and allow selection of more appropriate treatment plans.

Keywords: CBCT; Incidental findings; Paranasal sinus; Radiology.

MeSH terms

  • Cone-Beam Computed Tomography*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidental Findings*
  • Male
  • Maxillary Sinus* / diagnostic imaging
  • Mucous Membrane / diagnostic imaging
  • Mucous Membrane / pathology
  • Nasal Septum* / diagnostic imaging